Her Name in Blood @ Liquidroom Ebisu (Jan. 23rd, 2016)

Numbers of the Beasts
Live Report @ Liquidroom Ebisu 2016.01.23

Japan’s metal scene has been on the rise internationally for the past couple of years and Her Name In Blood are one of the bands who have been part of the promulgation of Japanese metal with appearances at Ozzfest both at home and in the US helping to bring them to a more global audience. 2015′s “Beast Mode” album was also a step in that direction – blending in a more timely hint of melody into what has previously been a canon full of songs you could literally and figuratively lose some teeth to. Having been out of Tokyo for much of the end of 2015 touring their new album, it was great to finally see the boys back in town playing a sold out show at Liquidroom with Nocturnal Bloodlust.

Her Name In BloodNocturnal Bloodlust had seemed like something of an interesting choice to play with HNIB, what with their having spent the past few years slinking about in the VK scene – a genre once described to me as “metal with training wheels”. If we’re to continue that analogy, then suffice to say that Nocturnal Bloodlust blew the wheels off the tricycle and went screeching back to their metal roots. The band put on a set full of hardcore breakdowns, metal riffing galore, guttural growls and agonizing pig-screams that had me thinking of grindcore at times. Certain numbers laid off the heavy and opted for the more melodic, but the emphasis was on getting the audience fired up for the headliners via some down and dirty rocking out (lascivious hip-thrusting included). All the while, headbanging from the large contingent of ladies rammed down the front made for quite an impressive sea of long hair in motion and some very uncomfortable looking punters who had not been expecting to get long perfumed locks in their eyes. Behind them, a circle pit had opened up within the first verse of the opening song and remained in motion pretty much throughout the set – quite a testament to any opening band.

Her Name In BloodOn then to Her Name In Blood, who came on stage to a backdrop of thunder ‘n lightning and spooky voices and tore straight into the first 3 numbers from “Beast Mode”. “Let It Die” felt like a departure from the CD for its more melodic qualities, but that is all comparative when you consider HNIB’s hardcore sound. Not that a nod towards melodic lyrics are a particular departure for the band, as they later reminded us with “Before I Melt Away” and its’ chorus, which prompted the whole venue to wave their arms in unison from side to side rather than in windmilling circles.

Her Name In BloodHer Name In Blood are a band whose sound has a muscular intensity and performance that always seems to leave behind a very visceral memory. What was more apparent this time was that along with their ability to mine classic rock sensibilities – catchy, cockrocking riffs mixed with hardcore punch – they also pack a great sense of humor. During “Gasolines” Daiki and TJ dropped their guitars and instead held aloft sign reading “Yeahhh!” on each side of the stage and got the crowd to bellow along with Ikepy during the chorus. Their choice of “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” was another good comedy choice even if it felt like the weakest number in the set, but all this was lost among a barrage from smoke cannons and huge bouncy balls tossed out into the audience by a cadre of 4 anonymous beings wearing giant TJ masks. Yes, do read that last sentence again.

Her Name In BloodHer Name In Blood’s tour final ultimately provided the sold out crowd with a great opportunity to go mad in those slow and crunchy breakdowns the band do so well, and leap around the rest of the time with anarchic abandon. On a night when it was threatening snow outside, the heat was turned up to max in Liquidroom with a gutsy and ferociously fun show to tide everyone over until April when HNIB will release a new EP. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

SETLIST

Beast Mode/ Let It Die/ Bleed On/ Gasolines/ Unshaken Fire / Insanity/ Sticks and Stones/ If I Melt Away/ Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) / Decadence/ This Is Retribution/ Cuts Into Pieces/ When the World Is Gone/ We Refuse

ENCORE

One Reason/ Gorilla / Halo

Photos courtesy of Her Name In Blood.

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Text:
Laura Cooper
laura@smashingmag.net
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